Uncomforting Comfort

I am a creature of comfort.

I love cozying up to a coffee, a fuzzy blanket, and a good book. I enjoy doing the things I like. I like feeling safe and loved. I prefer to do the things I am good at (or at least think I’m good at) instead of the things I’m not as good at. I like feeling at ease – as though my life is wrapped around me like a warm blanket. I will go out of my way to leave my house 10 minutes early so I can buy a coffee on a Friday before I go to work. I would rather talk with people I know than meet people I don’t.

Do you know what brings me the most comfort? Planning. Not just any plan – a well thought-out, itemized, goal oriented, risk-managed plan.

This is how I approach my life. I’m twenty-three and if I could have everything planned out for the next 5 years I would. I mean, ideally I would have at least 10 with a contingency plan but 5 years is me trying to be optimistic. In my head a 3 year plan is realistic. Do you know those people who say “come any time around 8 – we’re flexible”? I’m not that person. If I say 8 I mean 7:55 – earlier if necessary to account for traffic and weather.

I hate change.

I don’t like the idea of leaving. I don’t want to do things outside my “comfort zone”. I would rather not confront someone and just deal with it myself than bring up an issue. I dislike when employees or processes change at work. I really don’t like the idea of having to change how I set up my schedule. I don’t want to let new people into my bubble.

Don’t get me wrong – there are some changes that I didn’t hate!

I liked changing from not owning a car to owning one. I enjoy not having to go to school anymore. I much prefer life after the discovery of coffee…The only times I like change are when it makes me feel more comfortable – I liked buying a new car because it made it more comfortable to get to work, to do what I wanted after work, and to be less dependant on others. No school? Significantly less stress and more time. Coffee? Um, have you tried it?

The only time I like change is when I have control over that change or I know it will bring me more comfort. (and, you know, I’ve spent a few months working it into my life plan) Change scares me at the best of times, and at the worst of times it’s a thing I avoid like the plague.

Lets see what God has to say about my comforting plans:

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
– Proverbs 16:9

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
– Proverbs 19:21

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
– James 4:13-15

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.
– Proverbs 27:1

I like the way my life is. I’m comfortable in it. But God doesn’t say I get to live a comfortable, “well-planned-out-by-me” life. He doesn’t say I get to stay where I am. He keeps telling me there’s more to life than what I see now – that he isn’t done with me yet. And every time I decide to believe him and take a step forward I see that he’s right. But do you know what he does next? He whispers “Christy. I’ve still got more.” And he’s always right. Every. Single. Time. Even if I’m not more comfortable, the places he leads me are better. And how I view him and understand him gets richer and deeper.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
– John 10:10

I don’t think a full life doesn’t mean that all of my hours are planned. It doesn’t mean that I know what is going to happen in 10 years. I think maybe it has more to do with walking with God through it all. Less worrying about tomorrow, more living in today. Less heavy contemplation about small little things and more openness to things changing. Less focus on how to organize things so life goes “the right way” and more on how to listen and accept that the road isn’t a straight path forward.

When I am comfortable, that is when I ought to be the least comfortable. It is then when I am leaning less on God and more on myself.




I’m only going to do this type of a forward ONCE this year: this is not part of “Allan’s Bootcamp” – in the future you’re going to have to notice I didn’t put the scriptures from the reading in the title (not that I mind if you read this too, that’s why I had a blog in the first place).

Moving on.

Last week we started a series at church called “identity”. To be completely honest, I heard the title and I was like “Oh, what a nice topic! Everyone needs to hear that once in their life. Why am I here, again?”

Well helllooooooo there pride. How have you been doing lately? I didn’t miss you. Anyway, I don’t remember much of last week, other than it was about image and how we are supposed to not be identified by our image.

Today, however, the message was about labels. At the beginning we all had to repeat this phrase with my pastor:

I am not what others say I am.

Ok, I realize this is a rather cliche, normal saying. But it especially hit hard today because I’ve been particularly struggling with this concept the last few days. Ok fine, the last few months. I always take what people say (or rather what they don’t say) and start to evaluate myself based on those – whether it’s good or bad (usually bad). I, and I know everyone else, tend to focus on the negative things I hear instead of the positive, even if the positive outweigh the negative 10 to 1. Even if I do end up focusing on the good parts, I start to blow up my own ego, which gets to the point I was at last week with that oh so un-wonderful pride cropping up.

The point of the sermon was that Jesus labels us too – and his label cuts through all the other ones we and the world throw at ourselves. His label? Forgiven. Forgiven is so much of a better label than anything else anyone could ever label me as. So much better than the horrid things I label myself as, so much better than the best compliment I could think of.

It isn’t easy for me to remember this – I fall into the trap of defining myself as what others say I am all the time. People don’t even have to say much, I read into things so much it’s almost like I want to be told something. But it doesn’t matter. I am forgiven. It doesn’t make sense, I don’t deserve it at all. But I’ve been gifted beyond my wildest dreams with this. Praise God!

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name, would care to feel my hurt?
– Casting Crowns

Not only was this an home-hitting message, it was a humbling moment as I realized that there is always room for growth in Christ, I’ve never become perfect and I never am going to become perfect. It is a constant journey and battle to find my identity in “Forgiven”, instead of something else.